James Hay – Popular Film Culture in Fascist Italy – The Passing of the Rex (1987)

This is the first comprehensive examination in English of Italian cinema during the Fascist era. James Hay discusses the films of the 1920s and 1930s in terms of the popular culture and cultural policy of the times. The hundreds of films produced during this period have generally been discredited as propagandistic or as “white telephones” by both film and social historians. Hay, however, argues that this interpretation is much too simplistic. He demonstrates that this popular film culture was the result of a growing public “literacy” of film and of the interaction of cultural, social, and political transformations. This study uses popular cinematic narratives and images to discuss how Italians began to see themselves as a nation and as a cultura popolare.
Popular Film Culture in Fascist Italy is profusely illustrated with photos from films such as Grandi magasini and Squadrone bianco as well as popular classics such as Amarcord Continue reading